Tasmania in December 2019: cool start then the hottest day on record; wet in the west, dry in the northeast

The 30th brought record high temperatures to much of Tasmania, including a December State record of 41.9 °C at Friendly Beaches, but the first part of the month had been relatively cool. Westerly winds for much of the month meant the west of Tasmania was wetter than usual, but the northeast was much drier than usual.

Wet in the west, dry in the northeast

Record hot day after a cold start

  • The month started off cool, with several sites in the west and south having their coldest December day on record on the 2nd or 3rd, and a few sites in the south having their lowest December temperature on record on the 4th
  • The 30th was exceptionally hot across Tasmania as strong northwesterly winds brought warm air from the mainland; two-thirds of the sites with at least 20 years of observations had their hottest December day on record
  • Friendly Beaches reached 41.9 °C, the second-highest temperature ever reported in Tasmania (just behind Scamander's 42.2 °C on 30 January 2009) and the highest December temperature ever reported in Tasmania
  • Swansea (Francis Street) reached 41.1 °C, whilst Hobart (Ellerslie Road) and Hobart Airport reached 40.8 °C, also exceeding the old December mark of 40.6 °C set at Hobart (Ellerslie Road) on 30 December 1897
  • Almost all of Tasmania recorded accumulated monthly Forest Fire Danger Index in the highest 10% of historical values for December, and highest on record in the northeast quarter of the State; much of the eastern half of the State had its highest December daily Forest Fire Danger Index on record on the 30th
  • Overall, days were warmer than average in the east but cooler than average in the west
  • Cool nights were common in the first half of the month, but there were several mild mornings toward the end of the month
  • The Tasmanian mean temperature was 0.50 °C warmer than average; the mean maximum temperature was 0.96 °C above average but the mean minimum just 0.04 °C above average and the coolest for December since 2008

Hobart (Ellerslie Road)

  • Hobart (Ellerslie Road) reached 40.8 °C on the 30th, the equal-second highest temperature ever recorded at the site (behind 41.8 °C on 4 January 2013) and the highest for December (previously 40.6 °C on 30 December 1897)
  • Hobart's coolest day was on the 3rd when the temperature reached 15.8 °C
  • The mean daily maximum temperature for Hobart (Ellerslie Road) was 21.8 °C, which is 1.4 °C above the long-term average of 20.4 °C
  • Total rainfall for Hobart (Ellerslie Road) was 16.0 mm, which is 28% of the long-term average of 56.3 mm and the driest December since 2002
  • The mean daily minimum temperature for Hobart (Ellerslie Road) was 11.3 °C, which is 0.4 °C above the long-term average of 10.9 °C
  • The coldest morning was 5.8 °C on the 4th, and the warmest morning was on the 21st when the minimum temperature was 15.4 °C

Further information

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Extremes in December 2019
Hottest day 41.9 °C at Friendly Beaches on the 30th
Warmest days on average 24.4 °C at Cressy Research Station
Coolest days on average 12.5 °C at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Coldest day 1.6 °C at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) on the 3rd
Coldest night -4.0 °C at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) on the 4th
Coolest nights on average 2.5 °C at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Warmest nights on average 12.7 °C at Swan Island
Warmest night 16.6 °C at Flinders Island Airport on the 21st
Warmest on average overall 17.3 °C at Launceston (Ti Tree Bend)
Coolest on average overall 7.5 °C at kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle)
Wettest overall 494.8 mm at Mount Read
Driest overall 3.0 mm at Fingal (Legge Street)
Wettest day 81.2 mm at Mount Read on the 6th
Strongest wind gust 133 km/h at Hogan Island on the 3rd

Maps
ObservedAnomalyDecile rank
Total
rainfall
Map of Rainfall totals Map of Percentage of normal rainfall Map of Rainfall deciles
Mean
daily
maximum
temperatures
Map of Mean maximum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean maximum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean maximum temperature
Mean
daily
minimum
temperatures
Map of Mean minimum temperature Map of Anomaly in mean minimum temperature Map of Decile rank of mean minimum temperature

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Record highest December daily rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Mount Read 81.2 on the 6th 78.0 on the 5th in 2002 24



Highest December total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
higher
Average for
December
Lake Margaret Dam 401.8 468.2 in 1986* 253.2

* note: there are large gaps in the historical record at this site, so it is possible a higher value has gone unreported




Record lowest December total rainfall
New record
(mm)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 23.0 29.7 in 1968 36 88.2
Quamby Bluff 30.0 39.2 in 2000 24 84.3
Targa (Mountain Views) 24.6 31.0 in 2006 22 74.8
Lemana (Woodlands) 13.8 27.7 in 2011 21 60.4
Sheffield School Farm 6.4 19.4 in 2006 21 65.6
Erriba (Jubb Road) 33.4 37.6 in 2004 20 90.7
Liawenee 18.0 19.9 in 2011 20 59.1

Lowest December total rainfall for at least 20 years
Observed
(mm)
Most recent
lower
Average for
December
Fingal (Legge Street) 3.0 0.5 in 1908* 49.7
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 8.2 6.1 in 1983* 47.7
Westbury (Birralee Road) 9.2 7.2 in 1983* 51.1
Barrington Post Office 15.9 10.8 in 1994 70.4
Pyengana (Forest Lodge Road) 13.4 11.8 in 1994 95.3
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 14.4 12.8 in 1994 65.7
Wynyard Airport 18.8 13.4 in 1994 64.5
Yolla (Sea View) 38.6 22.4 in 1994 90.8
Devonport Airport 15.2 14.8 in 1997 52.3
Nunamara Offtake (St Patricks River) 16.4 3.8 in 1996* 58.7

* note: there are gaps in the historical record at this site, so it is possible a lower value has gone unreported




Record highest December temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 40.8 on the 30th 40.6 on the 30th in 1897 134 20.4
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 38.0 on the 30th 37.2 on the 26th in 1945 97 17.1
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 32.9 on the 20th 32.1 on the 22nd in 1976 63 15.7
Hobart Airport 40.8 on the 30th 39.2 on the 11th in 1998 62 20.8
Butlers Gorge 32.7 on the 30th 32.6 on the 19th in 2015 58 16.8
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 39.7 on the 30th 38.6 on the 11th in 1998 57 22.1
Flinders Island Airport 40.5 on the 30th 38.3 on the 20th in 2015 57 20.3
Orford (Aubin Court) * 39.7 on the 30th 37.5 on the 20th in 2015 52 20.5
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 35.3 on the 30th 33.5 on the 29th in 1979 48 20.9
kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 28.6 on the 30th 27.6 on the 31st in 2009 38 11.3
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 34.1 on the 30th 33.8 on the 6th in 1994 37 22.6
Fingal (Legge Street) 39.3 on the 30th 37.0 on the 10th in 2006 34 21.7
Wynyard Airport 31.1 on the 28th 30.5 on the 12th in 1998 34 19.8
Strahan Aerodrome 36.9 on the 30th 36.7 on the 31st in 2007 31 19.8
Dover 38.0 on the 30th 37.3 on the 31st in 2009 30 19.4
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 33.7 on the 30th 32.2 on the 10th in 2006 30 17.9
Maydena Post Office 36.3 on the 30th 35.2 on the 31st in 2009 28 19.9
Ross (The Boulevards) 37.8 on the 30th 35.6 on the 10th in 2006 27 22.8
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 39.2 on the 30th 36.1 on the 31st in 2009 23 18.5
Friendly Beaches 41.9 on the 30th 39.8 on the 20th in 2015 23 21.9
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 39.7 on the 30th 37.8 on the 11th in 1998 23 21.9
Sheffield School Farm 32.3 on the 30th 30.3 on the 31st in 2015 23 19.8
Tunnack Fire Station * 37.4 on the 30th 33.0 on the 11th in 1998 23 19.6
Ouse Fire Station 40.0 on the 30th 38.0 on the 31st in 2007 22 23.2
Cressy Research Station 37.0 on the 30th 34.5 on the 31st in 2015 21 23.0
Campania (Kincora) 40.6 on the 30th 38.1 on the 31st in 2009 20 23.0

Note:
* Hobart Airport, Orford, Friendly Beaches and Tunnack are also records for any month of the year.
† 41.9 °C at Friendly Beaches is the highest December temperature ever recorded in Tasmania. Swansea (Francis Street) reported 41.1 °C, but is not included in the table above as the site has a relatively short record. 40.8 °C at Hobart and Hobart Airport also exceed the old mark of 40.6 °C set at Hobart (Ellerslie Road) on 30 December 1897.



Record lowest December daily maximum temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 8.9 on the 2nd = 8.9 on the 6th in 1969 63 15.7
Strahan Aerodrome 12.7 on the 2nd = 12.7 on the 5th in 2002 31 19.8
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 11.9 on the 2nd 12.0 on the 5th in 2002 29 17.5
Maydena Post Office 8.5 on the 3rd 9.4 on the 4th in 2012 28 19.9
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 2.4 on the 3rd 3.6 on the 4th in 2012 24 15.1
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 10.4 on the 2nd 11.4 on the 4th in 2012 23 18.5
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 10.0 on the 2nd = 10.0 on the 25th in 2006 23 18.8
Scotts Peak Dam 6.6 on the 2nd 8.0 on the 5th in 2002 22 19.0



Record lowest December temperature
New record
(°C)
Old
record
Years of
record
Average for
December
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) -1.2 on the 4th -1.1 on the 27th in 2010 24 5.4
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 4.9 on the 4th 5.0 on the 12th in 2015 23 10.8



Lowest December mean daily minimum temperature for at least 20 years
Observed
(°C)
Most recent
lower
Average for
December
Marrawah 9.7 8.9 in 1996 10.7



Summary statistics for December 2019
Maximum temperatures
(°C)
Minimum temperatures
(°C)
Rainfall
(millimetres)
Mean for
December
2019
Diff
from
average
Highest for
December
2019
Mean for
December
2019
Diff
from
average
Lowest for
December
2019
Total for
December
2019
Average
for
December
Rank of
December
2019
Fraction of
December
average
Northern (district 91)
Cape Grim 16.6   24.4 30th 10.9   7.4 2nd 33.0
Cape Grim BAPS (Comparison) 16.6 -0.9 24.7 30th 10.9 -1.1 7.0 2nd 37.0 45.2 average 82%
Cressy Research Station 24.4 +1.4 37.0 30th 8.2 -0.5 1.4 22nd 11.6 44.3 v low 26%
Devonport Airport 20.5 +0.7 28.1 26th 10.7 -0.1 5.3 22nd 15.2 52.3 low 29%
Launceston (Ti Tree Bend) 23.7 +1.1 34.1 30th 10.9 +0.1 5.4 8th 8.2 47.7 v low 17%
Launceston Airport 23.7 +1.1 35.2 30th 8.9 -0.3 1.4 4th 12.0 49.7 v low 24%
Low Head 18.1 -0.9 22.3 30th 12.3 -0.7 8.8 22nd 14.6 43.2 low 34%
Luncheon Hill (Forestry) 18.4 -0.4 30.9 30th 8.3 -0.7 3.7 4th 111.2 90.5 high 123%
Marrawah 17.7 -0.7 27.8 30th 9.7 -1.0 6.0 6th 59.8 63.3 average 94%
Scottsdale (West Minstone Road) 22.0 +1.1 35.3 30th 9.3 0.0 4.1 4th 14.4 65.7 v low 22%
Sheffield School Farm 20.4 +0.6 32.3 30th 8.5 -0.6 3.5 2nd 6.4 65.6 lowest 10%
Smithton Aerodrome 19.7 -0.1 28.3 28th 9.3 -0.5 5.7 16th 42.0 57.4 average 73%
Wynyard Airport 20.7 +0.9 31.1 28th 10.0 +0.3 4.1 16th 18.8 64.5 v low 29%
East Coast (district 92)
Fingal (Legge Street) 23.7 +2.0 39.3 30th 8.6 -0.2 3.0 7th 3.0 49.7 v low 6%
Friendly Beaches 22.4 +0.5 41.9 30th 11.1 -0.8 7.0 1st 31.2 47.0 low 66%
Lake Leake (Elizabeth River) 19.6 +1.7 33.7 30th 7.0 -0.1 2.6 5th 46.4 71.6 average 65%
larapuna (Eddystone Point) 20.9 +1.6 31.0 28th 12.4 +0.4 6.0 4th 10.4 59.6 v low 17%
Maria Island (Point Lesueur) 19.3 -0.7 35.5 30th 11.6 -0.8 6.8 4th 40.2 49.4 average 81%
Orford (Aubin Court) 20.8 +0.3 39.7 30th 10.8 +0.1 5.7 1st 27.2 62.5 low 44%
St Helens Aerodrome 21.8 +0.5 36.8 30th 11.6 -0.3 5.9 4th 16.4 53.6 low 31%
Swan Island 19.1 -0.4 28.2 30th 12.7 -0.8 9.3 22nd 11.4 47.3 low 24%
Swansea (Francis Street) 21.7   41.1 30th 11.0   6.3 1st 27.4
Midlands (district 93)
Ross (The Boulevards) 23.9 +1.1 37.8 30th 8.8 0.0 2.9 4th 23.4 38.3 low 61%
Southeast (district 94)
Campania (Kincora) 23.2 +0.2 40.6 30th 9.9 -0.4 5.7 20th 19.2 42.2 low 45%
Cape Bruny (Cape Bruny) 18.1 -0.4 39.2 30th 9.8 -1.0 4.9 4th 55.8 58.9 average 95%
Cape Bruny Lighthouse 18.2 +1.1 38.0 30th 10.2 -0.2 5.5 4th 55.8 75.5 average 74%
Dennes Point 20.1   37.2 30th 11.1   5.1 4th 33.2
Dover 20.2 +0.8 38.0 30th 8.7 -0.4 3.5 4th 55.6 71.1 average 78%
Dunalley (Stroud Point) 20.2   39.0 30th 11.6   6.6 4th 32.4
Grove (Research Station)     34.4 20th 8.4 -0.2 2.9 4th 39.0 60.9 low 64%
Hobart (Ellerslie Road) 21.8 +1.4 40.8 30th 11.3 +0.4 5.8 4th 16.0 56.3 low 28%
Hobart Airport 21.7 +0.9 40.8 30th 10.8 -0.1 6.0 4th 19.6 51.8 low 38%
kunanyi (Mount Wellington Pinnacle) 12.5 +1.2 28.6 30th 2.5 -0.5 -4.0 4th 23.0 88.2 lowest 26%
Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse 14.9 -0.8 32.9 20th 9.0 -0.7 5.0 3rd 92.6 89.9 average 103%
Melton Mowbray (North Stockman) 22.5 +0.6 39.7 30th 8.5 -0.7 3.9 4th 16.2 40.1 v low 40%
Tasman Island 16.0 -0.7 33.5 30th 9.0 -1.3 5.0 3rd 52.2 64.1 average 81%
Tunnack Fire Station 21.0 +1.4 37.4 30th 7.1 -0.6 1.2 1st 19.4 53.6 v low 36%
Derwent Valley (district 95)
Bushy Park (Bushy Park Estates) 23.3 +1.2 39.7 30th 8.7 -0.4 4.2 4th 30.2 50.5 low 60%
Maydena Post Office 18.8 -1.1 36.3 30th 7.0 -0.7 2.5 4th 104.8 86.2 high 122%
Ouse Fire Station 23.2 0.0 40.0 30th 8.3 -0.6 3.4 1st 34.2 36.0 average 95%
Central Plateau (district 96)
Butlers Gorge 17.3 +0.5 32.7 30th 4.7 -0.8 -0.3 23rd 173.4 125.5 high 138%
Liawenee 17.7 +1.1 31.1 30th 3.4 -0.6 -2.4 4th 18.0 59.1 lowest 30%
West Coast (district 97)
Cape Sorell 17.7 +0.6 27.4 30th 10.5 -0.4 6.9 4th 68.4 80.3 average 85%
Hartz Mountain (Keoghs Pimple) 14.8 -0.3 32.9 30th 4.4 -1.0 -1.2 4th 95.6 82.4 high 116%
Low Rocky Point 17.5   34.6 20th 10.0   6.9 3rd
Scotts Peak Dam 18.6 -0.4 34.1 30th 7.0 -1.1 1.9 4th 215.6 146.1 v high 148%
Strahan Aerodrome 18.9 -0.9 36.9 30th 9.3 -0.5 6.1 24th 123.2 95.4 high 129%
Warra 17.2 -0.4 35.4 30th 6.6 -0.4 1.0 4th 192.0 138.2 high 139%
King Island (district 98)
King Island Airport 19.1 0.0 34.1 30th 10.2 -1.0 3.1 23rd 24.0 48.2 low 50%
Flinders Island (district 99)
Flinders Island Airport 20.4 +0.1 40.5 30th 12.1 +0.1 6.2 27th 17.0 58.5 low 29%
Hogan Island     28.6 20th 11.6 -1.8 8.0 2nd 13.4 43.8 v low 31%
Note: From 2017, information about Macquarie Island can be found in the climate summary for the Remote Islands and Antarctica

Notes

The Monthly climate summary, generally published on the first working day of each month, lists the main features of the weather in Tasmania using the most timely and accurate information available on the date of publication; it will generally not be updated. More extensive discussion of significant weather events, along with later information and data that has had greater opportunity for quality control, will be presented in the Monthly Weather Review.

This statement has been prepared based on information available at 9 am on Thursday 2 January 2020. Some checks have been made on the data, but it is possible that results will change as new information becomes available.

In some situations, some or all of the rainfall is in the form of hail or snow. In these cases the totals given are for the water equivalent: the depth of liquid water that results from melting any frozen precipitation. There can be significant 'undercatch' of snow in strong winds, meaning the true precipitation can be higher than that reported.

Averages for individual sites are long-term means based on observations from all available years of record, which vary widely from site to site. They are not shown for sites with less than 10 years of record, as they cannot then be calculated reliably.
The median is sometimes more representative than the mean of long-term average rain.

The Rank indicates how rainfall this time compares with the climate record for the site, based on the decile ranking (very low rainfall is in decile 1, low in decile 2 or 3, average in decile 4 to 7, high in decile 8 or 9 and very high is in decile 10).
The Fraction of average shows how much rain has fallen this time as a percentage of the long-term mean.

Where temperature area averages are mentioned, they are derived from the ACORN-SAT dataset.

Further information

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Climate